In the early 1960s, IBM developed and demonstrated "Shoebox" -- a forerunner of today's voice recognition systems.
Dr. E. A. Quade, manager of the advanced technology group in IBM's Advanced Systems Development Laboratory in San Jose, Calif., demonstrates Shoebox, an experimental machine that performed arithmetic on voice command.
This innovative device recognized and responded to 16 spoken words, including the ten digits from "0" through "9." When a number and command words such as "plus," "minus" and "total" were spoken, Shoebox instructed an adding machine to calculate and print answers to simple arithmetic problems. Shoebox was operated by speaking into a microphone, which converted voice sounds into electrical impulses. A measuring circuit classified these impulses according to various types of sounds and activated the attached adding machine through a relay system.
Shoebox was developed by William C. Dersch at IBM's Advanced Systems Development Division Laboratory in San Jose, Calif. He later demonstrated it to the public on television and at the IBM Pavilion of the 1962 World's Fair in Seattle.
IBM engineer William C. Dersch, shown above in 1961, demonstrates Shoebox, an experimental machine that performed arithmetic on voice command.